NANAIMO — A sluggish start cost the Buccaneers (20-6-0-1) in dropping a wild 6-4 decision to the visiting Victoria Cougars (14-10-0-1) at the Nanaimo Ice Centre Saturday night.
The Bucs fell behind 3-0 in the first period as the Cougars chased Nanaimo goaltender Derek Krall from the net. The hosts got within a goal on two occasions in the second period, but the Cougars tallied late in the period and early in the third stanza to secure the win.
“I don't think we were horrible in the first (period) but we weren't great,” Bucs head coach Curt Toneff said after the game. “I think the game came down to untimely penalties.”
The Cougars power-play was effective, going 3-for-7, while the Bucs man advantage was also dangerous operating at a 3-for-8 rate.
Arguably the biggest difference in the game was the goaltending of Victoria's Patrick Ostermann, who made 39 saves.
Toneff said while both of the Bucs goaltenders had “off nights”, he said he can count on both hands how many times their goalies have bailed the team out this season.
Darwin Lakoduk had a goal and two assists for Victoria, while Alexander Benger and Foster Martin each had two goals to lead the Cougars offense.
Owen Dalman, Mathieu Jallabert, Jayden Schubert and Cam Nickerson responded for Nanaimo. Reliable defenseman Dylan Hartl collected three assists for the Bucs.
Toneff said all of their players need to be rowing in the same direction for the Bucs to make a serious post-season run. He said they are continually making strides toward improving their overall game, but noted there is more work to do.
“I think we've got 80 per cent of our guys on board here and there are a couple guys in that room that need to ask themselves if they're a we guy or a me guy.”
The Swordsmen defeated the Cougars Thursday night in Esquimalt 3-2 on a Luc Wilson overtime goal.
The Buccaneers next game is a key North Division clash versus the visiting Campbell River Storm on Thursday, Dec. 7 at 7:15 p.m. at the Pirate Ship.
On Twitter: @reporterholmes
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